Monday, July 5, 2010

5 Steps to Fighting Slavery (+ Some Other Ideas)

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A sweet friend, Gracy Howard, is back on the blog today (she wrote for us before) to share some practical tips for fighting modern-day slavery. Gracy is a soon-to-be sophomore at Patrick Henry College where she is pursuing a degree in journalism and hopes to one day combine her love for the arts with her passion to fight slavery. She also blogs at Forte for Freedom. Thanks for sharing, Gracy!

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Five Steps

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Over the past couple years, a lot of people have asked me for advice on how they can fight modern day slavery.

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At first, I think, "Oh, that's easy. There are so many organizations to get involved with, so many blogs you can check, so many ways you can help spread the information."
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But then I realize that the quantity of work to be done and quantity of needs/ways to help can be extremely overwhelming. There's just so much! Some of us have very little time or money at our disposal. How do we fight modern day slavery?

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I have come up with some ideas for people who are busy, in school, or financially challenged to help them fight slavery. Please feel free to share these amongst other people who want to get involved. Hopefully they will help you join the abolitionist movement, wherever you are, however busy you are.
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1. Identify a branch (or branches) of modern day slavery you want to target.
It is true that all forms of slavery should be destroyed, and we want to fight slavery in any form. But in order to be truly effective, it may be a good idea to focus your energies in only one or two areas. If you try to help in every situation, you will only get overwhelmed.
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Here are some of the most common forms of modern-day slavery:
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Bondage slavery: most common in India, but also used across the world.
Sex slavery: one of the most prevalent forms, with a huge concentration in Thailand and in Europe.
Child soldiers: most common in Africa, especially Uganda.
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OR
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2. Concentrate on raising awareness. Instead of fighting a specific kind of slavery, you can combat all forms of slavery by raising awareness in your community, targeting companies that are supported by slave labor, or working with free trade companies.
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3. Find organizations that are involved in the area you have picked. The following are my top picks in abolitionist organizations, but this is by no means an extensive list.
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Bondage slavery: International Justice Mission, Not for Sale, Free the Slaves
Sex slavery: Polaris Project, Shared Hope International, For the Silent, Project Rescue, World Vision, Love 146, NightLight International
Child Soldiers: Invisible Children, World Vision
Raising Awareness: Call + Response, Chain Store Reaction, Freeset, Goodweave, Stop the Traffik
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4. Decide which organization (or organizations) you want to help. This is really a personal decision, based on factors like location, area of expertise, area of need, and religious preference. Decide which organization(s) really stand out to you. These are probably my top five (but once again, these are my personal picks; don't base your decision off of me):
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International Justice Mission
World Vision
Project Rescue
Polaris Project
Invisible Children
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5. Identify how you can help. Ask yourself these questions:
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Do I have the money to help financially? If you have money to help financially, I would strongly encourage you to give a monthly amount to one or two of the organizations you like.
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Do I have the time to volunteer? If you have the time to volunteer, look at the following list of strengths and think about how you could best offer your services.
Am I a good organizer? Am I a leader? Am I able to inspire and/or encourage others to join a cause? Someone who is a good organizer and leader would be helpful in raising awareness or raising money in a community. They can assist abolitionist organizations in their grassroots movements, and help inspire people to join the cause.
Do I have technological/computer skills? Do I have media/graphic arts/film skills? Those who are technologically/artistically gifted are great assets in communications. There is always a need for websites to be updated and designed, for promo/awareness-raising media to be created, and so on.
Do I have any musical talents? If you are a musician, consider giving benefit concerts in order to raise awareness and money for your cause. This is a huge help to abolitionist organization. If you actually have resources and create a CD, you can give a portion of your sales to an organization, as well.

Do I have any writing abilities?
Writers can help in a communications department, or independently. Abolitionist organizations often need people to write press releases, update websites, and so on. But a writer can also help independently, by keeping a blog or writing stores that raise awareness on this issue.

Do I have previous volunteering/job experience that would lend itself to this cause?
Those who have experience in counseling or social work a huge help to abolitionist organizations. Organizations often need people who can work with victims of slavery and help them in the rehabilitation process.

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+ Some Other Ideas
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If you don't have the money or time to help in any of the above ways, here are some other things you can do:
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Buy smart. Use resources like Chain Store Reaction to find out which stores are fair trade, and only buy from those companies. In addition, you can support some abolitionist organizations, like NightLight International and Freeset, that offer vocational training and jobs to freed slaves.
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Support abolitionist leaders. Find out which politicians in your state/federal government are committed to opposing slavery and support them. Look for important legislation (you can get e-mail updates about this from International Justice Mission) and contact your congressman or senator with your input.
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Support when you can. Get e-mail updates from abolitionist organizations and notice when they have an upcoming event you can attend or a monetary need you may be able to help with.

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Here are some additional tips and ideas I assembled, specifically for people from different walks of life:
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Ideas for busy people:
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1. Give a monthly amount to an abolitionist organization.
2. Get e-mail updates from an organization and respond to needs when you are available
3. Join a cause on Facebook that fights modern-day slavery, and use it to raise awareness amongst your friends
4. Buy your jewelry from NightLight International
5. Buy your purses/bags from Freeset
6. Buy your rugs from GoodWeave
7. Challenge yourself to buy all fair trade Christmas presents
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Ideas for college & highschool students:
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1. Start a club that supports an abolitionist organization, and work with fellow students to raise awareness and/or money.
2. Write an article or op-ed piece for your student newspaper that exposes the evils of slavery and encourages your fellow students to help.
3. Organize a fundraiser or benefit concert at your school to help an abolitionist organization.
4. Volunteer for a few hours a week at a nearby organization.
5. Talk to your friends, teachers, and parents about slavery and give them some suggestions for how they can help.
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2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I am always looking for small ways to combat big problems and this wonderful resource was exactly what I needed, thanks a bunch.

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  2. real nice straight and easy to understand! thank you so much, you're such a great help to people! more power!

    ReplyDelete